Cost of Preschool
Berkeley Parents Network >
School & Preschool >
Cost of Preschool
I currently spend about $300/wk on my child's part-time preschool. If I
increase it to
5 days a week, then I will be spending nearly $2000 a month on preschools
around $23000 a year. Is this normal and reasonable? Should I change my
how much preschool costs? Although I can technically afford it, it just
expensive to me and I have a second son who will start preschool in a
year.... I like my
son's schools, but should I reconsider what schools they go to based on
costs for both
Feeling the Pinch!
OUCH!!!! We've put 3 kids through preschool and if we had to pay
what you are for part-time preschool, I'd have lost my mind years
ago! I am assuming this is for part-time, meaning not daily, but
all day when your child goes? We had a really great preschool in
Pleasant Hill that we paid $300/month for 3 mornings
(8:45-11:45am). I cannot imagine that what you are paying is the
norm, and there are many really good programs out there. Much as
a good preschool was important to us, it's not rocket science!
Good luck --
Hi. Yes, $2K is not atypical for a full time preschool for one
child in the Bay Area. Do I think it's reasonable.. it depends on
the family. For us, absolutely not, so I used savvysource.com and
a spreadsheet to find the preschools that were within our (much
lower) pricepoint. I pay $1170/month, for 3 days a week, for two
kids. So about exactly half what you are paying. You'll have to
look at your finances, maybe cast a wider net geographically or
be flexible in other areas (you might not find that perfect
school that provides all organic hot lunches and bilingual
lessons, for example, on a budget!). On the other hand since you
already have one son in the school, your second is probably
guaranteed a spot so that's worth a lot in peace of mind. I've
known families that pay less than you do and those that pay more
(sometimes adding a nanny on top of preschool!) - so it's all
about your family's priorities and ability to pay.
- practical mom of 2 preschoolers
Recentely I attended some preschools' open house and was kind
of shocked by some of the costs/fees charged by some schools. I
would really appreciate your input/opinion/ on this based on
your experince. For instance:
Step One - No question it is a very good preschool. But on top
of its very expensive tuition, the school charges $90/year
Capital Fund Fee, Earthquake Fee $75/year, Materials Fee $90
(AND MORE if your kids are there also afternoon to 3:30 and
5:30 pm RESPECTIVELY!!). Sorry but I personally found this
pretty unreasonable and thus annoying or hard to accept. And my
friend (she is an experienced parent in selecting schools etc.)
in San Bruno echoes my view.
Berkeley Montessor School -
charges $800 enrollment fee for pre-K. And not only you don't
get a discount if you pay tuition for the whole year (which is
offered by a lot schools as I learned), you will be charged a
financial fee if you pay tuition monthly!!! Policies like that
just kill all my desire to look further into the school.
Being so new in this field, I would love to hear all your
experinced opinions on these sensitve issues concerning costs.
Thanks very much in advance.
My co-op preschool has all sorts of "hidden" fees that are not
included in the tuition. There is a yearly $100 "Earthquake Fee"
and there is a $100 fee is you don't buy scrip. There is a fee if you don't
contribute something to the yearly auction, and of course you are
charged for not doing your weekly participation or your yearly
maintenance obligation. There is a building
fund fee and there is a materials fee.
Of course, the school only runs till 12:30, so if you need longer
than that, there is the additional expense of afternoon childcare.
You'd think that a co-op
would be cheaper than a non-co-op school but after all the fees,
it comes pretty close to a regular preschool! It's a good idea
to ask about extra fees when you are looking at preschools, because
many, if not most, have them, and inlcuding them will give you
a more realistic picture of your preschool costs.
The preschools I investigated did not seem to charge such fees. There
was a basic rate for full time (which was definitely different than
morning-only), and then additional charges for extra classes (e.g. if the
child elected to attend optional gymnastics/art/music classes). However,
these preschools were also quite expensive, in the $900 - $1000 per
month range. So they might in effect be rolling those extra charges into
the monthly rate.
I think I might calculate the total cost per month and just compare that.
I wanted to write in response to the fees charged by Berkeley Montessori School.
Both of my sons are at the school, and I know it is awfully expensive, especially the
preschool program. But you really get your money's worth! The preschool is a
fantastic program that gives children a huge head start in many ways, and by
coming to the school at this age, you get in at the ground level at a great school
that you can stay with right through middle school. The teachers are so dedicated
and caring with the children, and the classroom environments are so rich!
The $800 fee is a capitalization fee, and it is there because families already at the
school paid, through donations and tuition, for the retrofit of the preschool and new
ecologically-green elementary school campus. Since new families enjoy the fruits of
those labors, the idea is that they share some of the burden by paying this one-time
fee. I know it is difficult for families to pay these big fees, but providing such
resources is terribly expensive in the Bay Area, and this is one way the school is
trying to shoulder those costs.
In terms of whether you're paying monthly or all at once, you can look at it either
way, depending on how you want to spin it. You can consider it a discount if you
pay all at once, or you can consider it an extra fee if you pay monthly. It would be
better, in my opinion, if the school spinned it as a discount if you pay all at once,
but in the end, the effect is the same. The school is not in this to make money--
BMS is a non-profit school.
Our family struggles to pay tuition at BMS. But we consider it such a great program
for our children that we've tried to look beyond the price to see what the school
really has to offer.
re step one's rates - definitely this is an expensive
preschool. but I think it's important to keep in mind that it
is a non-profit, so even though the costs might seem
unreasonable, they are high because that's what they feel they
need in order to maintain the high quality of the school. for
example, step one offers their teachers good pay and good
benefits. they take this very seriously, and because of this
they are able to retain good teachers for many many years. I
think this makes a huge difference. that said, if the cost is
so high that it 'annoys' you, then of course you should try to
find a cheaper school.
a step one believer
this page was last updated: Mar 31, 2009
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Berkeley Parents Network